President Muhammadu Buhari says that his signing of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change has demonstrated Nigeria’s commitment to a global effort to reverse the effects of the negative trend.The President said this on Thursday while addressing the opening of the meeting on “Taking Climate Action for Sustainable Development’’ in New York.
A statement issued in Abuja by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the president, said the meeting was co-hosted by Nigeria and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Adesina stated that the meeting was one of the Side Events of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71).
He said that President Buhari had shortly before this event, signed the Paris Agreement, where he expressed Nigeria’s commitment to reducing “Green House Gas Emissions unconditionally by 20 per cent and conditionally by 45 per cent”.
This he noted was in line with Nigeria’s “Nationally Determined Contributions.”
While describing the signing as historic, President Buhari also expressed confidence that with support from development partners, Nigeria would meet the above targets.
The resident pledged to ensure the ratification of the Paris Agreement before the 22nd Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016.
He said that it was to demonstrate his personal dedication to the process of implementing the Agreement that he was hosting the side event on Taking Climate Action Towards Sustainable Development.
President Buhari, who said he was privileged to have been part of the Paris Agreement, expressed appreciation to what he called “the genuine efforts by President Francois Hollande of France in drawing global attention to reviving the Lake Chad Basin,’’.
He also lauded him for galvanising the political will that led to the global consensus in reaching the Paris Agreement.
The President said Nigeria’s commitment to the Paris Agreement was articulated through its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) “that strive to build a climate resilient society across the diverse terrain of Nigeria.
“We have instituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change to govern implementation of my country’s NDCs, thereby ensuring a strong cross-sectoral approach, coherence and synergy for Climate Action.’’
President Buhari, while admitting that implementing the Roadmap will not be easy in the face of dwindling national revenues, however, indicated that both internal and external resources would be mobilized to meet Nigeria’s targets.
He added that the 2017 Budget would reflect Nigeria’s efforts to accord priority to realizing its NDCs.
“In addition, we are set to launch our first ever Green Bonds in the first quarter of 2017 to fund a pipeline of projects all targeted at reducing emissions towards a greener economy,” he said.
While urging global support to transit to a low-carbon climate resilient economy, the President specifically reminded industrialised nations “to play their role and deliver on their commitments on access to climate finance and technology transfer and help with capacity-building.
“Expectations are high for their leaders to deliver 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 in support of developing countries to take climate action, thus keeping the promise to billions of people.”
President Buhari called on the international community to “give special recognition to the plight of Lake Chad and support our effort to resuscitate the livelihoods of over five million people in the region.
“This will reinforce our efforts to reintegrate the thousands of Boko Haram victims and returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”
According to the President, the Niger Delta region is a unique biodiversity rich in coastal environment that is highly prone to adverse environmental changes.
He said these changes were occasioned by climate change, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, exacerbated by poverty and many decades of oil pollution leading to loss of livelihoods and ecosystems.
He added however, that “through an integrated approach, implementation of the NDCs, and our efforts to clean up Ogoniland, we will improve livelihoods, protect the environment and take climate action, and ensure the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
President Buhari thanked the Presidents of Chad, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger for attending the event.